YOU”RE NOW READY TO SAIL
You finally decided to take time off work. You are ready to soak your senses in the luxury of a Caribbean sailing vacation. So now it is time to start planning that cruise.
CREWED CHARTER OR A BAREBOAT
The first thing you must decide is whether you want a crewed charter yacht or a bareboat.
Are you wanting to enjoy the convenience of having a captain and chef to assist you during your cruise? If so, I suggest you book a fully crewed charter yacht. However, if you are an experienced sailor and enjoy sailing yourself, I suggest you book a bareboat.
The dry season in the Caribbean is from February through June. From July onwards you will have mixture of sunshine and frequent rains squalls that blow through quickly. It is safe sailing in this weather; it’s just a little wet.
However, in winters from late November to early February, you have what is called the Christmas Winds. During this period intense winds and rough seas can make it unsafe for sailing and anchoring.
While booking a sailboat charter in the off season can cost you less, it is important to make sure that you have not planned a trip during hurricane season which is from July to November with peak season occurring in September and October.
If you have no choice but to charter during this period, I suggest booking a charter yacht in the southern Caribbean, such as the Grenadines, where you are less likely to run into Hurricane problems.
CATAMARAN vs MONOHULL
A catamaran has two hulls as opposed to a monohull which is what a sailboat is called. Catamarans offer the luxury of space, stability, privacy, comfort and have a large cockpit as well as deck space. There are catamarans that are so luxurious they offer all the facilities you fine in a five star hotel. This is the perfect vessel for those who want to enjoy and relax during their sailing cruise.
A sailboat (monohull), on the other hand, is for those who are more interested in exploring the art of sailing. On a sailboat it may be a little wet and will be less comfortable than aboard the typical catamaran. This is due to the healing factor of a sailing yacht in high winds. Nonetheless, the sailboat’s performance is far better than catamarans.
PLANNING THE TRIP
Here are some things you will need to consider when planning your sailing vacation.
- The base port where you begin and end your charter
- The islands you want to visit
- Selecting a crew that fits your personality
- The week you want to sail
- The activities you have an interest in
GETTING CLEARANCE TO ENTER
Customs and Immigration are important aspects of getting across the borders with ease. The Windward Islands cover four separate countries, hence once you are near a port of entry, your captain will go to the custom officials with all the guest’s passports, as well as all the ship’s papers for the ship and get clearance to enter the country.
These small countries take the Customs and Immigration process profoundly serious. If the charter party should happen to go ashore with the captain, it is necessary to act with decorum and show courtesy to the local government officials.